Roper: The corrupt political process in Vermont exposed

By Rob Roper

Rep. Zachariah Ralph (P-Hartland) just penned a remarkable op-ed, Behind the Scenes at the State House (everyone should read this), exposing the grotesque practices of the majority party leadership, detailing how they place ideology and special interests above the interests of their constituents, twisting arms to get what they want. “The game is,” says Ralph, “that you [an elected Representative] are first loyal to your party and leadership, second to your committee, and only after these institutions are appeased, can you be loyal to the people that elected you.”

state of Vermont

State Rep. Ralph Zachariah

For those of us who have spent time in Montpelier, this is not a surprise. (For years the majority leader of the House would post a sign, Yes/No, on his or her desk during a vote telling their caucus how to vote. Woe betide anyone who crossed the sign, as Rep. Ralph illustrates in some powerful anecdotes.) The surprise is that an elected official has finally and baldly called Vermonters’ attention to this despicable practice. Good for Rep. Ralph.

But, when you dig into Ralph’s article, he is frustrated that party leadership thinks it knows what’s best regardless of what constituents might think or want, and places their own priorities, often driven by special interests, at the forefront. Other ideas and priorities, such as Ralph’s, are tossed into the waste bin as unworthy. What Ralph thinks though is that he, not they, knows best.

Neither is correct. We the people know best, and we should be left alone to make decisions and act on them free from corruptible influence of the process Ralph so eloquently describes.

Ralph’s article precisely illustrates why we should not give to government power and money in the first place. It is why the bedrock of our founding rests on limited government — because the really big decisions (as well as the small ones) in people’s lives should not be left to this inherently corruptible process.

Real democracy, the true will of the people, lies not in the political process. It exists most effectively in the free market where free people are able to make decisions for themselves – what kinds of cars to drive, what kind of energy to purchase, what kind of bags to carry our groceries in, etc. and so on. Government is, by its nature, always the instrument of special interests. Limit its power and scope, and you limit the power of special interests.

The collective actions of individuals pursuing happiness on their own and in association with like-minded citizens will far better reflect the true will and interests of the people and will lead to greater and broader prosperity.

So, while I am grateful to Rep. Ralph for his exposé, at the end of the day I don’t want him making decisions for me and my family any more than I want Mitzi Johnson, Tim Ashe, Jill Krowinski, Becca Balint or any of the lot making those decisions. If they truly want to put their constituents first, they will agree, and leave us alone.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Images courtesy of Public domain and state of Vermont

14 thoughts on “Roper: The corrupt political process in Vermont exposed

  1. what Vt needs to do is get some good true Vermonter’s in the Government. For decades now we have had mostly out of staters taking over our state. Telling us what to do, how to live, how and where to work, where our kids should go to school. Heck you can’t even do things on your own home or land without permission and paying a fee/or fine if you didn’t get permission to put that little deck on. Our taxes go up and up, not to maintaine the roads but to support these socialist legislators pet projects.that comes first. The unions are a joke they don’t listen to the workers. The Union have given support (donation) to Sanders and the workers are upset about this they don’t want him. The money is from the workers dues..Scott, Zuckerman, Leahy, Sanders, Welch and 97% of the legislators are corrupted. All they care about is their pockets and their million $$ homes.and their pet projects, nothing more. They want to take away our freedom and 2nd amendments. They want to get rid of the old Vermonters, plus some of the middle age 0nes..They want to make Vermont into the state they left….

  2. Limiting the power and scope of government is difficult to accomplish when the will of the people is determined by boards, commissions and nonprofits. The peoples true will can only be known or measured by their vote, but sadly that vote is not taken.

    We are only allowed to vote for those who represent us, they are heavily lobbied by the special interest who control the agendas and ultimately our legislators are controlled themselves by collective groups and their own political party.

    It is hard for those who represent us to not feel the pressures of benevolent cause from the many collectives that seek their help, but charity should be limited to the fruits of ones own labor and choosing, it is not the job of our representatives to enhance some of their constituents at the expense of others.

  3. Color me shocked!!!! NOT..
    The Democrat Socialist are little different from their mentors the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, the same little Nazi thugs just a different day….

  4. He will be primaried and they will miraculously have a new person running for his seat.it will just happen, nobody will notice, some new person will have just moved to Vermont and will suddenly be backed by many in the party, have massive support and money too!

    Another person will pe replaced in the Borg.

    John Rodges was sent a warning shot when he defended the constitution. Suddenly articles from all sorts came out against them.

    Planned parenthood warned all those that tok from the fountain of PAC money that they were watching.

    I’m sure certaint unions for the schools send memo’s on what they expect from the Borg.
    I’m sure certain hospitals (is there more than one now?) tell the Borg they want certain things done, they are one of the major,lobbyists in the state and also a serious underwriter for VT Digger.
    And if those memo’s don’t keep you in line we have tha fall back of the enviro fascists. VNRC, a lemming for Bushes New World Order fantasy ala United Nations, will grade the politicians with their “unaffiliated”, but sharing the same board members and asking the same questions the VNRC are lobbying for will grade your representative on their “environmental record”
    And they say our state earne d a D- in Ethics how did we Ever get a passing grade?

    And the latest news is they deleted all the eB5 documents and can’t find them?

    We,could be more corrupt than Washington DC, only allowed to exist because,we have no free press and no freedom to comment in a public forum. Thank God one person was willing to provide a format where people can speak freely.

    • I hate this iPad, auto correct….the VNRC is “unaffiliated” with the Vermont Conservation Voters, who just coincidentally gave massive support to first time candidate Kari Dolan, who’s husband is very high up in Sun Commons….

      Crony capitalism is socialism’s nasty first cousin, making things worse they share the same bed in Vermont, not a good thing. I think this has given birth to crony non-profits, PAC, and cozy lobbyists. Where Planned Parenthood when you need them??. :). Yeah we need more effective birth control in Vermont….for,sure!

  5. I will be running against Becca Balint an my first and foremost goal is to let the free market work, unhampered.

    Tyler Colford for Windham State Senate, 2020

    • Are you in favor of School Choice, i.e. a parent’s right to choose the school (public or independent) that best meets the needs of their children, at public cost? And, if so, can you elaborate on the legislative initiative you have in mind to achieve that end?

      • I am on the fence when it comes to a school voucher system. In an interview with BCTV last election cycle I was opposed to the idea. Today I am conflicted. I like the idea of parents not being constricted with where their kids go to school but not at the expense of their neighbors. I will reply again when I’m out of work and can better answer in depth.

  6. Is anyone really surprised???? Having asked that, I remind those who have a problem with this kind of behavior, they can vent their displeasure every November. If they don’t, they have no one to blame but themselves. I’d love to see the Electoral College concept instituted Vermont so the majority of counties voting for Republicans or conservative leaning folks would have a shot of being sent to Montpelier. As I recall when Sulman was last elected, it was Addison County’s and Whindam Counnty’s votes that made a huge difference. If the vote were tallied by county, Shulman would have lost in a land slide.

  7. ” Loyalty to the party first”. First saw this during Act 60 process way back when. My house rep at the time admitted that he voted for the Bill, had not read it and just did what he was told by the House Leadership at the time

  8. This is No surprise, for those who haven’t followed the Progressive Democrats and their
    legislative process, all you need to know is it’s all about there Agenda and only there Agenda.

    Vermont’s citizens only needed as a tax base for there foolishness, bill after bill on nonsense
    I guess that’s a carpetbagger’s mindset.

    Wake up Vermont, our state deserves better a Government that governs for the people, and
    not a political agenda !!

  9. No surprise here. The ‘Democratic Process’ was expected to be hijacked. The very founders who created the system understood human nature and Madison clearly points out in Federalist 10 the dangers of ‘factions’. That’s why we have, among the other features of our Republic, an electoral college, two senators from each State regardless of population and unanimous jury verdict requirements to protect us from the propensity of factions and the tyranny of the majority. Mr. Ralph is simply letting us know the system of limited government can work.

    What concerned Benjamin Franklin was the eventuality that the entire legislature would become a monolithic faction unto itself, which is where we seem to be most of the time in our State governance, despite Mr. Ralph’s experience. Vermont’s specific problem is that it chooses its State Senators based on population centers, which is why Chittenden County has undue leverage over the rest of Vermont.

    • Vermont was supposedly made to move the senate voting rules to population by a liberal Warren Supreme Court ruling in the 60’s. That decision needs to be revisited because the current 6 senators from Chittendon County power base is taxation without equal representation. Urban areas are mostly liberal and rural areas mostly conservative. The liberals of course know this and do nothing about it. If they did they also know that they might lose some of their power in the legislature so it won’t happen unless it is forced on them to change it. A court case here could change that situation. It seems to me that the people of Vermont are a class of individuals that are being hurt by having no representation of their point of view and policy ideas. It has gone on long enough.

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